Located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, Brunei has a longstanding football heritage with the national team joining FIFA in 1969. The country boasts two exciting professional leagues with the Brunei Super League and the Brunei Premier League being enjoyed by fans. UCFB Wembley students Brad Smith and Bentley Rounding, who both study BA (Hons) International Football Business, are spending January working for the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) as part of a unique work experience opportunity. Here, Brad describes the first few days in Asia for the pair…

Bentley and I arrived in Brunei where we were met by John Whittle, the NFABD’s technical director, who arranged for us to meet at NFABD House after local prayers – giving us enough time to catch up on some sleep after a long 33 hours of travel! John asked us about our goals post-graduation, and from this he determined which departments we would join during our internship to help with our future careers.

After completing our first day, John invited us to watch a Premier League game, and then once the internship got into full-swing we both received several tasks. First, I was required to read the FIFA Forward programme to understand where NFABD get their funding, what criteria they must meet to be eligible to receive the funds and how the instalments are set up. I also read up on the funding they receive from the Asian Football Confederation. After this, I then proceeded to make a six-month budget based on their current 2019 budget; I then made the budget for 2020 based on each department’s requirements. Once this was checked, I was required to comment underneath my thoughts on how and where the money was being spent.

I was also required to provide my recommendations on the budget with reasoning so that my point of view could be understood. I then needed to put my recommendations into action by reducing their budget to within FIFA and AFC’s allocated amount to ensure it was viable.

We were also invited to listen to a meeting between NFABD and the Ministry of Education to discuss how football can be improved in the schooling system to create a bottom up approach to increasing football activity.

In our spare time, we have experienced Brunei to its fullest thanks to a member of the finance department, Sheikh, who has arranged for us to partake in various activities. He took us into the city centre to visit some museums, including the Royal Regalia, which was followed by visiting the water village and going on a speed boat for the mangrove safari where we saw crocodiles and proboscis monkeys.